Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Adolescents become smarter because they become mentally quicker. That is the conclusion of a new study by a group of psychologists at University of Texas at San Antonio. "Our findings make intuitive sense," says lead author Thomas Coyle, who conducted the study with David Pillow, Anissa Snyder, and Peter Kochunov. But this is the first time psychologists have been able to confirm this important connection. The study appears in the forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.
"Our research was based on two well-known findings, Coyle continues. "The first is that performance on intelligence tests increases during adolescence. The second is that processing speed" -- the brain taking in and using new stimuli or information -- "as measured by tests of mental speed also increases during adolescence."
To find the relationship between these two phenomena, the UTSA psychologists analyzed the results of 12 diverse intelligence and mental speed tests administered to 6,969 adolescents (ages 13 to 17) in the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Intelligence was measured by performance on cognitive tests of diverse abilities, such as vocabulary knowledge, math facts, and mechanical comprehension. Mental speed showed up in timed tests of computing and coding -- matching digits and words and other arithmetic tasks.
In both of these categories, the researchers could see that the older teenagers did better and worked faster than the younger ones. Then, running the data in numerous ways, they discovered that the measured increase of intelligence could be accounted for almost entirely by the increase in mental speed.
This is what they expected to find, says Coyle. After all, "performance on intelligence tests reflects, in part, the speed of acquiring knowledge, learning things, and solving problems." Those cognitive processes, he says, are related to how fast the brain is working -- and all that improves during the teenage years.
People may be learning while they're sleeping -- an unconscious form of memory that is still not well understood, according to a study by Michigan State University researchers.
"We speculate that we may be investigating a separate form of memory, distinct from traditional memory systems," said Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology and lead researcher on the project. "There is substantial evidence that during sleep, your brain is processing information without your awareness and this ability may contribute to memory in a waking state."
In the study of more than 250 people, Fenn and Zach Hambrick, associate professor of psychology, suggest people derive vastly different effects from this "sleep memory" ability, with some memories improving dramatically and others not at all. This ability is a new, previously undefined form of memory.
"You and I could go to bed at the same time and get the same amount of sleep," Fenn said, "but while your memory may increase substantially, there may be no change in mine." She added that most people showed improvement.
Fenn said she believes this potential separate memory ability is not being captured by traditional intelligence tests and aptitude tests such as the SAT and ACT.
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110927124653.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Mind+%26+Brain+News%29
Six-month-old babies are severely limited in what they can remember about the objects they see in the world; if you hide several objects from an infant, they will only remember one of those objects with any detail. But a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that when babies "forget" about an object, not all is lost.
Researchers used to think that babies less than two years old did not understand that an object continues to exist when it is not currently in the baby's view. But in the mid-1980s, new ways of doing experiments with babies found that they do, in fact, know that objects don't disappear when you're not looking at them -- a concept known as object permanence. But it was still unknown what babies needed to remember about objects in order to remember their existence.
Now Melissa Kibbe, of Johns Hopkins University, and Alan Leslie, of Rutgers University, are working to figure out exactly what it is that babies remember about objects. For the new study, they showed six-month-old babies two objects, a disk and a triangle. Then they hid the objects behind small screens, first one shape, then the other. Earlier research has shown that young babies can remember what was hidden most recently, but have more trouble remembering the first object that was hidden. Once the shapes were hidden, they lifted the screen in front of the first object. Sometimes they showed infants the shape that was hidden there originally, but sometimes it was the other shape, and sometimes the object had vanished completely.
Psychologists measure how long babies look at something to see how surprised they are. In Kibbe and Leslie's study, babies weren't particularly surprised to see that the shape hidden behind the screen had changed, for example, from a triangle to a disk. But if the object was gone altogether, the babies looked significantly longer, indicating surprise at an unexpected outcome. "This shows that even though infants don't remember the shape of the object, they know that it should continue to exist," Kibbe says. "They remember the object without remembering the features that identify that object."
This helps explain how the young brain processes information about objects, Leslie says. He suspects the brain has a mechanism that acts like a kind of pointer, a mental finger that points at an object. Each finger can only point to one object. "Just like a finger that points to something, you can't tell from the finger itself what the shape of the thing being pointed at is," Leslie says. "You can't tell from looking at my finger whether I'm pointing at a cat or a dog." This study shows that the mechanism in the baby's brain that remembers the object doesn't have to remember much about it.
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110927155220.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Mind+%26+Brain+News%29
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
The data for foods helping insomnia is not robust, mostly subjective and rarely reproduced. Dont think that I think a milkshake with these ingredients will have a major effect on insomnia. You may find that it helps...and could be delicious....and that's great. As always, consult your doctor.
Dont forget Kiwi Link to abstract on Kiwi
Most of us have experienced trouble falling asleep, to lie awake in the middle of the night or feel sleepy and during the day. These sleeping problems are mainly occurred by abnormal eating patterns and food stuffs.
Who wants to say 'no' to a Sound Sleep? Most of the people suffer from insomnia at one time or another. There are many foods, which you may not be aware of, can provide you a sound sleep without any distraction in between. Scroll down to know more about top 5 foods which can provide you a great sleep.
Dairy products contain tryptophan which provides sleep inducing substances like serotonin and melatonin and acts as a natural sleep inducer. Turkey is another famous source of tryptophan. You can also take sleep inducing dairy products like yoghurt and milk. Dairy snacks are also a great source of calcium, which helps the brain to use tryptophan to create melatonin.
Do you know oats is a great evening snack which provides great sleep? Oats are a great source of melatonin, which helps to regulate body's internal mechanisms and has taken as a great sleep aid. When combined with milk, they are good source of tryptophan. Oats are also good source of calcium and magnesium, which have been proven to promote deep sleep.
Eating bananas can help you to sleep soundly at night. Banana contains lots of potassium. One banana contains 400 mg potassium, which is equivalent with steamed potatoes or a glass of orange juice. Researchers found that potassium is a must to relax muscles and provide sleep. Bananas also contain tryptophan, which can help to promote sleep. Researchers from the University of New England in New South Wales found that having a banana before bed can also keep your throats open and therefore reduce the risk of choking.
Cherries are a great source of vitamins like vitamin A, C, and potassium. Several studies found that tart cherry juice can help you get a better night's sleep. Cherries also provide a great natural source of melatonin, which can help to regulate sleep as well as being excellent for overall health. A recent study published in The Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research has proved that consuming tart cherries before bed time can make sleep faster and easier.
Actually the research is based on cherry juice, only showed modest effe t.... in 15 people
Flax seeds are great for increasing levels of sleep-regulating substance serotonin in the body due to their high levels of both tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain rich amount of omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven to help reduce the anxiety, depression and stress, and have been shown to be effective against the condition sleep apnea. Flax seeds also provide great amount of magnesium, which is known for stress reduction due to its relaxing effect on the muscles and nervous system
Deep Brain Stimulation Studies Show How Brain Buys Time for Tough Choices
Take your time. Hold your horses. Sleep on it. When people must decide between arguably equal choices, they need time to deliberate. In the case of people undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's disease, that process sometimes doesn't kick in, leading to impulsive behavior. Some people who receive deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease behave impulsively, making quick, often bad, decisions.
U.S. pediatric health advisers on Thursday urged drug regulators to continue studying weight gain and other side-effects of antipsychotic drugs as they are increasingly taken by children.
Significant numbers of U.S. children are receiving drugs to tame aggression, attention deficit disorder and other mental problems, even though there is little conclusive data to show exactly how the medications work or whether they damage kids' health
The pediatric advisory panel on Thursday listened to preliminary results of a study sponsored in part by the FDA that, inconclusively still, compared whether some antipsychotic drugs put children at a higher risk of developing diabetes than others.
Similar to the recommendations the panel has made in previous years, it voted 16-1 to support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's routine safety monitoring of the new generation of antipsychotics.
But the panel did so with a caveat that the agency specifically look at how to clarify the drugs' labels to highlight concerns about their impact on children, namely the risks of weight gain and diabetes.
"There is serious concern that children may be at a higher risk for serious adverse effects and we just don't have sufficient data to answer that question," said Dr. Jonathan Mink, a child neurology expert from the University of Rochester Medical Center.Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/23/us-advisers-urge-fda-to-address-antipsychotics-in-kids/#ixzz1Z4NLIjrf
Friday, September 23, 2011
With cold and flu season right around the corner, keeping children healthy is on the top of every parent's mind.
The chronic lung disease affects an estimated 7 million kids under 18 and accounts for more than 14 million absences annually. Parents should give the school office (plus teachers and coaches) a plan that specifies symptoms, medications and what to do if an asthma episode does not improve with prescribed medicine, says Norman Edelman, the American Lung Association's chief medical officer. Early in the school year, parents should "do an environmental check of the allergens and other irritants that can trigger an attack," he adds.
It's important that "families work together with their schools and health care provider to manage conditions," says Linda Caldart-Olson of the American School Health Association.
A group of viruses that cause various upper and lower respiratory infections are quite common in autumn, says Cynthia DiLaura Devore, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health. These infections, which also can trigger asthma attacks, cause flu-like symptoms (coughs, fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea) that can put a child out of commission for five to 10 days, and are contagious, says Devore. She says parents should keep children home until they're fever-free and off symptom-reducing medicines for 24 hours.
January to March is the height of flu season, but now is the time for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine, says pediatric infectious-disease specialist Mary Anne Jackson of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. This year's vaccine is formulated to protect against the same three strains as last year's.
A number of viruses can infect the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in gastroenteritis or "stomach flu." Marked by vomiting and diarrhea, it usually lasts only 24 to 72 hours, says Devore. Because the viruses are spread through close contact by sharing food or eating utensils, hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizers are critical.
In school districts with "no nit" policies, kids with lice must stay home until any sign of eggs has passed. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses oppose the policies because they have not been shown to effectively reduce the spread, no disease is linked to lice, and in-school transmission is rare, says Devore.
Outbreaks in the USA last year of potentially fatal, vaccine-preventable diseases, including pertussis (whooping cough) and measles, highlight the importance of "being vigilant about all immunizations," says Jackson. CDC offers immunization schedulers at cdc.gov/vaccines.
Repeated episodes of what Devore calls "Sunday Night Stomach" or chronic absences without a medical excuse should be taken seriously, she says. When kids express anxieties, fears and resistance to school, they may simply need a little extra "reassurance, understanding and limit-setting" or there may be serious mental health concerns. Either way, it shouldn't be lightly dismissed, says Devore.
Read more: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/story/2011-09-21/Top-reasons-for-school-absences-and-how-to-handle-them/50501620/1
Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one's own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach.
Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people's dynamic visual experiences -- in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.
As yet, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips people have already viewed. However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers.
"This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery," said Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study to be published online Sept. 22 in the journal Current Biology. "We are opening a window into the movies in our minds."
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110922121407.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Mind+%26+Brain+News%29
The human brain doesn't stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, demonstrates recent research from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Electrical Stimulation of Brain Boosts Birth of New Cells: Animal Study Suggests Deep Brain Stimulation Improves Memory
Stimulating a specific region of the brain leads to the production of new brain cells that enhance memory, according to an animal study in the September 21 issue ofThe Journal of Neuroscience. The findings show how deep brain stimulation (DBS) -- a clinical intervention that delivers electrical pulses to targeted areas of the brain -- may work to improve cognition.
A collaborative project between Duke University Medical Center researchers and chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been able to watch zinc in action as it regulates communication between neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory processes occur -- and where disrupted communication may contribute to epilepsy.
"We discovered that zinc is essential to control the efficiency of communication between two critical populations of nerve cells in the hippocampus," said James McNamara, M.D., senior author and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Duke. "This addresses a longstanding controversy in the field."
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921132334.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Fepilepsy+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Mind+%26+Brain+News+--+Epilepsy%29
In comparison with the general population, sudden unexplained death is 20 times more common in people suffering from epilepsy. Researchers have found some potentially preventable risk factors for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), such as large numbers of generalized tonic-clonic seizures (the most common type of generalized seizure affecting the entire brain) and taking a combined regimen of AEDs (polytherapy). Until recently, no research has examined or developed a beneficial effect at preventing SUDEP in a controlled study.
Analyses revealed in general that patients treated with adjunctive AEDs at effective doses had a seven times reduced risk of dying a SUDEP compared with those given placebo with rates of definite and probable SUDEP being 0.9 per 1000 person-years in the AED group and 6.9 per 1000 person-years in the placebo group.
According to the authors, treatment-related reduction in the frequency of seizures seems the most likely explanation for significantly low rate of SUDEP in patients administered with AEDs at effective doses. Opposing research's suggestion that polytherapy might increase the risk of SUDEP, the authors point out, stating: "Our data suggest that add-on AEDs at doses effective on seizure frequency reduce the risk of SUDEP despite increasing the drug load, at least during the average 3-month duration of randomized trials," concluding that, "This finding provides an argument not only for active revision and optimum management of treatment in patients with uncontrolled seizures, but also for further prospective and long-term investigation of this unsettled issue."
Sōsh™ is the new word in social skills development. It is also a mobile application designed to help ‘tweens, teens and young adults improve social skills. Sōsh is especially developed to be used by individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. Dr. Mark Bowers, a pediatric psychologist, in conjunction with a counseling psychologist, developed the social skills app – moving social skills training into the high tech, mobile app world.
The Sōsh app contains the critical elements that individuals need to improve their social skills. Whereas other social skills tools and strategies are often used in artificial settings (a therapy group, at home, in a therapist's office), this portable application can be utilized in real life social situations when questions arise.
Sōsh is based on a decade of work with children, adolescents, and young adults who struggle with social difficulties. The Sōsh framework divides social functioning into five areas essential to social skills development and success: Relate (Connect with Others), Relax (Reduce Stress), Regulate (Manage Behaviors), Reason (Think it Through) and Recognize (Understand Feelings).
This approach to social skills has not been available until now. Individuals using the app learn to: practice conversation strategies, relax, pursue social opportunities, recognize feelings, make successful transitions, journal progress, eliminate negative thoughts, monitor behavior, and regulate speech volume, to name some of the many features. In fact, Sōsh contains over 60 well-designed and engaging screens of exercises, strategies, and practical information to improve social interactions.
read more: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/sosh/prweb8795906.htm